Answer Monday!

Finishing up the pre-Stanford disaster questions, which are pretty similar to the post-Stanford disaster questions.

Q: gotroy22 said:
What do you thnk accounts for the low number of turnovers recovered by SC’s defense this season?

A: This has been a problem for several years now after Pete Carroll’s defenses established a reputation for creating turnovers. There is no simple answer because fumble recoveries often depend on being in the right place in the right time. USC’s forced more fumbles than last year’s defense but recovered less. Maybe it’s athleticism. Pete Carroll says he works on it in practice but it’s a tough thing to improve. It’s clearly been an issue the last few years though.

Q: Edward said:
Concerning the USC recruiting class of 2006, (26 players, who would be fourth-year seniors), there are only fourteen left on the 2009 roster. Not to mention, four more out with injuries the last two or three games. Small signing classes in ’07, ’08, and ’09… Where have the extra scholarships been used? Depth is running thin.

A: USC’s rarely been at the 85-scholarship limit the past five years, so some scholarships are held and a few given to walk-ons. Part of the problem is when USC wanted to sign a big class, like last season, guys went elsewhere (Manti Te’o, Vontaze Burfict).

Q: Trojans Rule said:
HI SCOTT:
Could you compare the 2010 Trojan football team outlook vs. the 2009 team, using the following assumptions:
1. No immediate impact players sign in 2/10
2. Everson leaves early
3. On offense, leaving early are Williams, Gable,
Johnson and McKnight
4. No other changes, like coaching staff, etc.
Thank you, Scott, I ask because it doesn’t look so
great.

A: You make some good points. I’d add that the schedule will be easier (the road rotation in the Pac-10 is better) and the road games are Hawaii and Minnesota. Matt Barkley has to be better next year. The defense should be better at LB, if Devon Kennard continues to play in spring practice and gain experience, for example. I also think WR recruit Robert Woods has to be an impact player. That would not make up for the loss of Damian Williams, though. It’s going to be interesting because I do not think anyone can say flat out USC will be a lot better next season. It’s going to be a wait-and-see thing.

Q: HANDICAPPED PARKING said:

Would you agree with me that our overall talent level is down this year? I’m not sure at all about this, but sometimes it sure appears so—or, perhaps the coaching overall is at its worst level. If it is talent, would you say its due to poor recruiting [as compared to 2002 on,] or more like, good recruiting, and some guys just didn’t work out as expected. Hey, thank you, Scott, for all the years you have helped us.

A: I think some recruiting decisions have greatly affected things. For example, the stockpiling of six tailbacks when none was ever going to be an elite back. USC lacks a Justin Fargas, let alone a Reggie Bush. It’s also fair to say the coaching changes have an impact in specific cases. I do not think losing Nick Holt hurt USC. But when Steve Sarkisian left, it meant someone would come in and run the offense with a true freshman quarterback. That’s when you make a bold move and hire a Gus Malzahn. Or a Norm Chow in the old days. But instead, it’s more on-the-job training hires.

Q: USC’89 said:
Scott,

Can you tell if there is any heat on Pete for not making the BCS title game for 5 years running?

A: I know there is discontent in the athletic dept. but how much heat can there really be on someone with Pete Carroll’s record? So it’s not enough to warrant any serious discussions.

Q: YogiBear said:
Has Taylor Mays draft stock fallen due to his play such as penalties and the unimpressive USC defense? Where does he get drafted?

A: He is going to wow NFL team at the combine and Pro Day with his workout, so his stock will not drop.

Q: Champion said:
Do you think USC will add new plays to their offense and to enable the offense to score more points?

A: No.

Q: osezno said:
Didn’t the NCAA put a deadline to the investigations into USC athletics?

A: There is no deadline. The NCAA works at its own pace.

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